March 6, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

UCLA runner dismissed from team for using racist, sexist and homophobic language

UCLA runner Chris Weiland has been dismissed from the track and field and cross-country teams after a video recording and text message exchange showing him using racist, homophobic and sexist language surfaced on social media, sparking widespread outrage.

The 4½-minute video, posted on an Instagram account called “ucla_is_racist” and shot inside a darkened car, appears to show Weiland talking about his girlfriend cheating on him with another man before he asks her to leave. Weiland, who is white, goes on to use a racial slur in a cellphone call that can be heard in the video, verified as Weiland by multiple people close to the program.

“When she says she doesn’t, you know, want to get back together, why do you think?” Weiland asks a woman in the call. “It’s because she wants to be with this f— f— who has no future. She’s going to be with a stupid n— who’s going to be in community college all his life.”

The woman speaking with Weiland tells him not to talk like that. He responds: “I don’t give a f—.”

Weiland, who is listed as a senior on UCLA’s 2021 track and field roster, spent two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College and another at Cal State San Marcos before transferring to UCLA.

He can be heard crying as the woman speaking with him tells him to move forward. Asked where the man involved with his girlfriend lived, Weiland says, “I don’t know, probably the …. ghetto.”

Toward the end of the video, as Weiland can be seen wearing a UCLA sweatshirt, the woman admonishes him for his own behavior after he has also acknowledged cheating.

“You’re just trying to justify her being a little s—,” Weiland says. “That’s all she is and that’s all she ever has been.”

Weiland was also alleged to have made offensive remarks in a text message exchange.

The Instagram account also posted a picture of Weiland in his UCLA uniform, noting in the caption that he remained on the team wearing a Black Lives Matter patch “after this racist behavior was brought to coaches and the athletic director months ago. … We will not remain silent. We must be anti-racist in a racist society.”

The alleged incidents occurred prior to Weiland enrolling at UCLA in the fall of 2019, according to a person close to the situation.

Attempts to reach Weiland for comment were not immediately successful.

UCLA track coach Avery Anderson said in a statement released by the school that he suspended Weiland indefinitely from the team upon learning of his remarks before allowing him to return earlier this year.

“Even in my disgust, as a coach, my intentions are always to lead and educate and make the change happen that I want to see in this world,” Anderson said. “I can talk about changing the world, or I can put in the work to do so. And that is what I have done over the last few months with this individual.

“In January, I decided to reinstate him to the team. However, after team members and the athletic community expressed concern, it became clear that his continued involvement with the team is incompatible with the culture of mutual support and respect we’re fostering. I now realize that the decision to reinstate him was not the right decision, and that the action today is best for the well-being of our team.”

Earlier in the day, UCLA’s Black Student-Athlete Alliance released a statement condemning Weiland’s language while chastising the school for not taking quicker action to remove him from the team.

“As a university that champions itself on the accomplishments of its Black athletes that have broken the barriers of social justice, we find it deeply disturbing to learn that UCLA knew about an incident of blatant racism, homophobia and sexism and did very minimal actions about it.

“The racist actions that took place by a member of the cross country team are unacceptable and disrespectful, and we at BSAA refuse to accept the actions of that athlete, as well as the lack of action to address the issues by the coaches, staff and administration. We do not feel safe with this person on campus, and we demand UCLA athletics take action immediately and remove this student from the team.”

Former UCLA women’s soccer defender Kaiya McCullough, who was among the players on the team who would take a knee before games in support of social justice issues, lashed out at a copy of the video posted on Twitter.

“As a Black student-athlete alumni that has stood diligently against racism and bigotry in all forms, I am APPALLED that this behavior is not only being excused, but covered up by your departments. To allow Chris Weiland to continue to participate in competition and maintain his enrollment at @UCLA is a stark contrast to the values that UCLA and your department claim to uphold. Allowing this behavior to go unpunished is a clear message to your Black students and student-athletes about your stance on racism and hate. I am disgusted by the inaction exhibited by the administration, and the continued trauma you are putting your Black students and student-athletes through. DO BETTER. This is precisely why I kneeled for 3 years ON CAMPUS.”

In 2020, during his debut season for the Bruins, Weiland ran in three meets, finishing as high as 12th in the mile at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships with a personal-best time of 4:08.35.